04 Jan 2016

What Podcasts Do Professors Listen To?


The Harvard ecosystem is home to a number of popular podcasts. Harvard Business School launched its official podcast this fall with Cold Call, which distills the School's legendary case study method into short, engaging discussions with faculty members. Topics so far have included building a sustainable luxury brand at Stella McCartney, the impact of brain injuries on the National Football League, and how good leadership can save lives, among others.

Harvard Business Review publishes a wide-reaching podcast called Ideacast, a weekly show featuring the leading thinkers in business and management. The Harvard Kennedy School, the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health also have their own audio series, all of which are available (along with many other audio offerings) on the Harvard University Soundcloud channel.

But what do faculty members listen to on their own time? We asked several Harvard Business School professors which podcasts they frequent and would recommend to others. Here are some of their answers:

Francesca Gino – Tandon Family Professor of Business Administration
As someone with a keen interest in consumer behavior, Professor Gino recommended NPR's Hidden Brain podcast. Hidden Brain is described as a project that “helps curious people understand the world – and themselves. Using science and storytelling — and a lot of fun! — the project reveals the patterns that drive human behavior, the biases that shape our choices, and the imperceptible forces that influence our relationships.”

“People are fascinating creatures,” Gino said. “This podcast is all about that, and that’s why I love it. It is always interesting, talks about compelling research, and I always learn something new when listening to it.”

Thales Teixeira – Lumry Family Associate Professor of Business Administration
Professor Teixeira is a member of the Marketing Unit at HBS, where his research focuses on The Economics of Attention, or how to buy, sell, capture, and use consumer attention to engage customers and build brands. Teixeira recommended the EconTalk podcast, which typically includes an economist, oftentimes a Nobel laureate, discussing important topics related to economic principles and current topics popular on in the media.

“The benefit of EconTalk for me is it offers a more in-depth perspective on complex problems.” Teixeira said. “It helps me see multiple sides of an issue, as opposed to the oftentimes one-sided and/or superficial explanations that you might find elsewhere.”

Leslie John – Assistant Professor of Business Administration
Professor John is a member of the Negotiations Organizations, and Markets Unit at HBS. She teaches in the MBA and Executive Education programs, and her research focuses on how consumers’ behavior and lives are influenced by their interaction with firms and public policy.

Professor John recommended two podcasts she follows. The first is Serial, a weekly podcast from the creators of This American Life that focuses on investigating a single true story in real time over the course of a season. The second is Radiolab, a show “about curiosity, where sound illuminates ideas, and the boundaries blur between science, philosophy, and human experience.”

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